School spirit scrambled during Thursday lunch rally

Leena Hussein and Maya Mukherjee

Student Activities Director Steven Gallagher addresses the Palo Alto High School student body during the Thursday lunch rally. Following Wednesday night’s egg wars, an egg-throwing battle between juniors and seniors, the Associated Student Body hosted a clean-up session at Peers Park and in the nearby neighborhood later that day. Gallagher strongly encouraged students to redeem themselves and put aside their rivalry by participating in the clean-up. “I would love it if you guys could show what Paly is really about,” Gallagher said. (Photo: Neil Rathi)

Administrators worked to tamp down competition and tension between juniors and seniors Thursday at Palo Alto High School after taunts and egg-throwing overshadowed games and cheers at the fourth rally of Spirit Week.

At least two frozen eggs were thrown from the junior section of the bleachers at the lunch rally, hitting at least one senior, according to senior Maia Johnsson, a member of The Paly Voice staff.

“They [some juniors] brought eggs to the rally,” junior Jennifer Mori said. “That was just taking it too far.”

Seniors were upset with how the juniors carried over Wednesday night’s egg wars rivalry into today’s rally.

“At the rally, that [throwing eggs] is dangerous, and I think that there’s a lot of hate on seniors because we’re supposed to be the role models,” senior Anique Dittrich said. 

The junior class took part in stealing the senior class flag Wednesday night, according to multiple sources, which sparked accusatory and taunting chants at Thursday’s lunch rally. Juniors began chanting “Where’s your flag?” at the seniors while seniors responded with demands for juniors to return the flag.

The flag has since been returned to seniors during third period on Thursday after a personal intervention by Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, according to ASB Treasurer Vivian Trach.

The competitiveness between upperclassmen during the lunch rallies has become a point of contention during Spirit Week.

Palo Alto High School students compete in the Spirit Rally event “Clean Your Room” during Thursday’s lunch rally. Freshmen and seniors were victorious over juniors and sophomores. “They [the games] are going okay,” junior Riya De Datta said. “I know that the freshmen are doing really well, so I hope they don’t beat us this year.” (Photo: Neil Rathi)

“I thought it [the rally] was pretty fun, but we [juniors and seniors] may have been a little bit too competitive,” junior Tess Bowen said. “Everyone’s just booing.” 

Dittrich said she was disappointed with how juniors were acting towards seniors.  

It was not cool of the juniors to steal our flag,” Dittrich said. 

During Thursday’s rally, Student Activities Director Steven Gallagher also addressed Paly’s participation in the unsanctioned egg fight between juniors and seniors on Wednesday night.

The rivalry between the upperclassmen during this event and during Thursday’s rally created a negative image of Paly among the Palo Alto community, according to Gallagher.

Despite the drama, normal lunch rally activities still took place. Seniors and freshmen competed against juniors and sophomores in a field game called “Clean Your Room.”  

More positive chants such as “We got spirit!” traveled throughout the bleachers during the spirit activity, and seniors and freshmen ended up defeating the juniors and sophomores.

After Thursday’s lunch rally, seniors are in the lead with 10677 points, juniors have 9069, freshmen have 8614, and sophomores have 7783.

During Friday’s lunch and after-school rallies, floats will be revealed, students will present their class dances and more points will be awarded for games and costumes.